After 50 years there's still no sign of aliens

A radio telescope which was set up to look for radio transmissions from ET is celebrating 50 years of not finding anything.

Frank Drake sat at the controls of an 85-foot radio telescope at an observatory in Green Bank look for a signal from an alien civilization.

It was hellishly advanced thinking for the time and he only had been on line for an hour before he got a burst of transmissions from Epsilon Eridani. It turned out that it was a signal from a secret military radar and one of the many false positives the system has had.

The work sparked the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project but after five decades of patient listening, funded by HP, and Intel all there has been is a silence full of space tumbleweed.

Paul Davies is author of “The Eerie Silence.” He is director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University has penned a piece for the Wall Street Journal where he thinks that biological intelligence might be a brief phase in the evolution of the universe.

“Even in our own young species, computers now outperform people in arithmetic and chess, and Google is smarter than any human being on the planet. Soon, most of the mental heavy lifting will be done by designed and distributed systems, and over time those systems will themselves design better systems,” he said.

He pointed out that given a long period of development, information and knowledge processing, networks could merge and in principle expand to cover the entire surface of a moon or planet. “If we ever do make contact with ET, it is unlikely to be a flesh-and-blood being with a big head, but a gigantic throbbing artificial brain. Whether such an entity, inhabiting the highest reaches of the intellectual universe, would have the slightest interest in us is moot,” he said.